Why You Should Be Baking with Fiori di Sicilia

This Italian extract smells like an Italian bakery and tastes like a complex Creamsicle.

Commonly used in Italian sweet breads such as panettone and pandoro, the Italian extract known as fiori di Sicilia has the citrusy and floral notes of orange peel, undergirded by a woodsy, vanilla-like aroma. Though the name translates as “flowers of Sicily,” the exact formulation is proprietary. Our sample, purchased via mail order from the King Arthur Baking Company, smelled like an Italian bakery and tasted like a Creamsicle, though more complex.

This winning flavor combination makes an intriguing addition to dairy-rich desserts such as rice pudding or panna cotta; sweet, cheese-enriched items such as cannoli or our Migliaccio di Semolino (Semolina and Ricotta Cake); and a wide variety of cookies. Though many sources recommend swapping out the vanilla in such recipes for an equal amount of fiori di Sicilia, we found the Italian extract more potent; however, its assertiveness mellows as it cooks. If you're baking your item until it's dry—biscotti or shortbread, for example—a one-to-one swap with vanilla is fine, but for items that remain moist, such as migliaccio di semolino, use only 75 percent as much fiori di Sicilia as vanilla. And for recipes in which vanilla is added only at the end, such as ice cream or panna cotta, use only half as much.

Potent Stuff: **** In some applications, use less fiori di Sicilia than you would vanilla extract.

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